Staying in town this weekend? Smart move. Let the masses fight traffic and cram aboard the LIRR while you enjoy the serene pleasures of a city that suddenly feels half empty of people, and half full with possibilities.
Summer's winding to a close, so why not go watch a bunch of big explosions by the Wonder Wheel? Coney Island will host its final fireworks display this Friday evening, which means you'll be able to sync your hot dog bites to the loud aerial booms as people scream with glee, pretending you're in an action movie conquering evil with every mustardy mouthful. I can't be the only one who has this recurring fantasy, right?
Friday, September 1st, 9:30 p.m. // Coney Island, Brooklyn // Free
MoMA PS1's Warm Up's kick off day earlier this summer (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
You owe it to yourself to dance like there's no tomorrow outside in the beautiful late summer air at a world class art museum. MoMA PS1's Warm Up series will host its grand finale Saturday with DJ and live sets from DJ Tunez, Little Dragon, DJ Lag, LSDXOXO, Odwalla12221, and Debit—a truly international bill that will serve as an excellent survey of the best dance music happening all over the globe. Advance tickets come at a discount, but if you're forgetful and are reading this Saturday morning, don't worry: day-of passes are still a phenomenal bargain.
Drink in one last tall glass of summer and then chase it with a caipirinha in Midtown at Brazilian Day, a celebration of the nation's best music, art, drinks, and food. Stretching across 25 blocks along 6th Avenue in Midtown, the Labor Day party will feature live performances, vendors, and plenty more. Each year, the fest is attended by a million people, so whether you're a Bossa Nova hipster or an Os Mutantes punk, you'd better head over and enjoy the vibes before we close the book on another summer.
Begins Sunday at 11:30 a.m. // Sixth Avenue in Midtown (stage at 43rd Street) // Free
Sure, barbecues and trips to the beach are great, but it's not a bad idea to keep in mind the True Meaning of Labor Day—a one-day respite for workers across the country in defiance of capitalism's brutal relations of production. Labor activists and community organizations will be marking the occasion with a jubilant parade on Monday, beginning at 5th Avenue and 44th Street. There'll be nurses, engineers, janitors, and thousands of others committed to continuing the fight for labor rights, so lend them your support and wave a banner or shout along. In times like these, workers need all the help they can get.
Monday, September 4th, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. // 5th Avenue and 44th Street, Manhattan // Free
Lasers, jetpacks, and thumping soca—need we say more? This Monday night two Caribbean legends will play a double bill show at Bushwick's sprawling palm tree paradise Avant Gardner. Even if you're only a casual reggae fan who owns but one mere copy of Legend, you're guaranteed to enjoy yourself at Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin's blow-out holiday concert. Montano is known for incorporating flying performers in jetpacks during his outdoor concerts...and Avant Gardner is an open-air venue. You do the math. If you're not hitting the West Indian Carnival parade, this eight-hour show is your next best chance at enjoying the carnival vibes saturating Brooklyn this weekend.
One fourth of Radiohole in repose at Fort Tilden. (Gothamist)
The forecast is iffy for Saturday and Sunday, but Monday is shaping up to be a sunny gem of a day. Take the subway, the ferry, the bus, or a bike out to one of New York City's numerous lovely beaches. The Rockaway boardwalk and Jacob Riis have music and kick-ass food and beverage options, while Tilden's got the remote "are we even in New York City?" nature vibe (and is only a short walk to the Jacob Riis concessions). Monday is not your last chance to enjoy city beaches—they'll remain open for swimming one more week, but if you have the day off, why the hell not? The beach is worth the trek—here's our thorough guide on how to get out there and what to expect. Leave your tent and portable speakers at home, thanks! (John Del Signore)
Carnival is the name of the game this weekend if you're in Brooklyn, and you've got a wide array of events that'll allow you to boogie down island-style. On Saturday night, the Panorama music competition will pit the city's best steel bands against one another in the shadow of the Brooklyn Museum. Then, late Sunday night it's time for J'Ouvert, the pre-dawn parade through Crown Heights which will is still set to draw hundreds of thousands of artistic revelers despite strict new security measures and a delayed start time. Finally, the West Indian American Carnival Parade will charge down Eastern Parkway with thousands of ornately-costumed performers strutting to trucks packed with speakers. Pick the event that suits you best, or do all three and feel the soca way deep down in your bones.
Panorama fest begins Saturday, September 2nd, 7 p.m. // 200 Eastern Parkway near the Brooklyn Museum in Crown Heights // Tickets $45
J'Ouvert gates open at 2 a.m., Monday, September 3rd // Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn // Free
West Indian American Carnival Parade begins at 11 a.m. (but get there at noon or 1 p.m. // Eastern Parkway beginning at the Brooklyn Museum // Free